Two out of every 10 Americans suffer from chronic headaches and they spend over billion dollars every year for over-the-counter medications to relieve pain. Many are diagnosed as having “migraines” and they live their lives believing they will never be without headaches. They never imagine that their headaches may be caused by a bad bite or jaw misalignment.
Advanced neuromuscular dentistry has linked bad bite to jaw-to-skull misalignment which can cause temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome or temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).
TMJ and TMD are two of the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed conditions in the health field because symptoms often seem unrelated to your bite. Symptoms may include frequent headaches or migraines, facial muscle pain, neck and shoulder pain, jaw joint pain, clicking or popping in the jaw, limited jaw movement, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), vertigo (balance problems), numbness or tingling in the finger tips, and worn or loose teeth. In many cases, TMJ/TMD treatments will help relieve these symptoms.
Do you have any of these symptoms?
Headaches or migraines
Stiffness or soreness in the neck, shoulders and back
Tingling of the fingertips
Clenching or grinding
Ringing in the ears
Limited mouth opening
Understanding the importance of your bite will help you comprehend the symptoms of TMJ/TMD. For example, if you are unable to breathe through your nose and breathe mostly through your mouth, your tongue which is a powerful muscle will place considerable forces on your teeth and have a substantial effect on your bite. Repositioning your head may help your jaw muscles work less, but it places great strain on your neck.
Think about it in terms of an injured foot you will begin walking to protect that foot, but soon your posture changes and pain will be felt elsewhere, like your hip.
Neuromuscular dental treatments helps place your jaw in the ideal position, which helps reduce TMJ/TMD pain. The goal is to eliminate the TMJ/TMD pain caused by overworked muscles, allowing a stable bite where muscles are as balanced and relaxed as possible.
To assess your bite, a series of simple scans of your jaw will be taken to determine how well your muscles are functioning. Once this information is gathered, your fatigued muscles will be relaxed with transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS).
When your muscles are relaxed, optimal position of the jaw can be determined. Based on this process, an orthotic can be created for your jaw that places it in its proper neuromuscular position and helps the jaw achieve the ideal resting position. Only your symptoms are relieved and your bite stabilized, your bite can be permanently adjusted to the correct position.
So, next time you reach for that medication, think of what it would be like to be pain free. Call a neuromuscular dentist for a comprehensive exam and see how you can improve the quality of your life.